URUZGAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The 1039th Engineer Company engaged in its first partnership with Afghan National Army on a route clearance mission in the Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, Sept. 7. <br /> <br /> Soldiers from the 1039th from Arkansas, based out of Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan, had the opportunity to work with the Afghan National Army for the first time without their 223rd Engineer Company counterparts. The ANA had a small group of soldiers that were attached to a platoon of 1039th for a route clearance mission. <br /> <br /> The soldiers from the 1039th are working with the ANA, assisting them on route clearance and force protection training to better prepare the ANA to take the lead in operations without U.S. forces. <br /> <br /> U.S. Army 1st Lt. Wesley Gautreax with the 1039th briefed 1st Lt. Janagha with the 4/205th ANA just prior to the mission. Janagha expressed excitement at the opportunity to work with the 1039th.<br /> <br /> The 1039th soldiers conducted themselves professionally and worked well with the ANA soldiers, conducting a successful mission and building trust and stronger relationships with the ANA. <br /> <br /> This experience is just opening the door to better experiences down the road as missions continue and for better cohesion between U.S. and ANA troops.